For solar energy conversion, surface plasmon resonance (SPR) offered the possibility to enhance the efficiency by broadening the light absorption, increasing the light scattering, and directly exciting electron-hole pairs (hot charge carriers). SPR parameters play a crucial role in plasmonic applications, while SPR properties are very sensitive to the structural parameters of plasmonic metals. We have demonstrated the variation of SPR parameters (position, intensity, width, and mode) with the height and shape of nanoparticles, which provide guidance for the design of plasmonic metallic nanostructures for solar energy conversion (ACS Nano 2015, 9, 4583; Adv. Energy Mater. 2015, 5, 1501654; ACS Nano 2017, 11, 7382; Adv. Funct. Mater. 2020, 30, 2005170).

We have presented a concept for enhancing PEC water splitting using a large bandgap ferroelectric material (PZT) and manipulating charge transfer and transport in plasmonic-ferroelectric hybrid nanostructures (Nature Communications 2016, 7, 10348). By depositing Au nanodot arrays with our templates and PZT films on ITO substrates and studying the absorption of photocurrent and femtosecond transients in different configurations, we demonstrate effective multiple tuning of charge transfer between the nanodot array and PZT and show that the photocurrent this can be tuned by almost an order of magnitude, demonstrating a versatile and tunable system for energy harvesting. Furthermore, using a plasmonic coupler from a three-dimensional Au column / pyramid truncated array (PTP) obtained with an AAO template, superior optical absorption within a wide wavelength range is demonstrated using a composite CdS / Au PTP photoanode (ACS Nano 2017, 11, 7382).

By incorporating self-aligned and geometrically distinct subsets of Au nanoparticles into a matrix using multipore anodic alumina templates, we constructed enlarged NP superlattices with programmable multiple plasmonic resonances in a broad wavelength range (Adv. Funct. Mater. 2020, 30, 2005170). The plasmonic nanoparticle superlattices facilitate the synergistic coupling of various functions inherited from their contained nanocomponents and consequently enhance the photocurrent response in their resulting photoelectrochemical cells. Indeed, subsets of nanostructures ingeniously formed and separately studied represent a promising approach to realize the next generation of complex systems for various applications (Nano Lett. 2018, 18, 4914).